Steppin’ Out of Babylon: Podcast-Radio Interviews by Sue Supriano

“Babylon” is the “isms” and “schisms” not only within the system but within ourselves. Let's organize, unify and step out of Babylon.

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Introduction

Sue Supriano’s Steppin’ Out of Babylon is a radio interview series covering a broad range of important issues in today’s world: peace and war, human and civil rights, communication, the media, the environment, food security, racism, globalization, immigration and matters of the spirit. Over 250 shows are available at this site!

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Sue Supriano - A Brief Autobiography

Sue SuprianoI was born in 1938 and lived comfortably in the woods of rural northern Illinois for the first 16 years of my life. Went to a country school-all 8 grades in one room with one teacher-until 4th grade when I started going into the Dundee Grade School on a school bus. In retrospect I see that as the beginning of being when I started to be recognized as an independent thinker-for better or worse---- and it's been both, believe me.

At 16 I went to a girl's boarding school in Massachusetts where my intellect and independent thinking were somewhat encouraged. That's where I first heard about "class" which I did notice before but didn't have the words for. Also, thanks to a couple of teachers it's where I first heard about "liberal" politics and I made friends with a larger variety of people, mostly from the East.

From there it was the University of Michigan for 2 years, then 3 years hanging out in Paris and other parts of Europe, marrying my U of M sweetheart who was in the Navy, and moving around with him until he got out of the Navy and we both went on to the U. of Chicago. There I got my BA in Political Science. My husband helped politicize me, for sure, though eventually it was clear that I was more of an "activist" than he, we split up and I came to Berkeley, California from where I write this over 40 years later.

Berkeley has been my home base since 1963. When I arrived here I jumped into the Civil Rights Movement, then the Free Speech Movement, the Peace Movement, and the Women's Movement. From this base I have traveled to visit many places on all continents of the planet (except Antarctica). Europe was earlier. Since then I've spent more time in the "Third World" for lack of a better term. The Caribbean got my heart for sure. That's where the "Steppin' Out of Babylon" radio program name came from-"Rasta stylee". The roots music and some sentiments of Rastafarians combined politics, spirituality and other themes in a way that made sense to me and fed my heart and soul with groundedness.

My son, Greg Supriano, was born in 1968, right here in Berkeley. I had always hated racism and had the naïve idea that if everyone got together across racial and ethnic lines, racism would go away. This is not the reason I gave birth to my wonderful mixed race son, but it did fit with my values, and got me involved in issues of interracial families and individuals.

I had been raised in the white, right wing Midwest and was well indoctrinated with anti-Communism, though the more I learned and saw, the more it sounded good to me. He and I went off to Eastern Europe when he was 6 months old. My son and I went off to Eastern Europe when he was 6 months old so I could see for myself. What I discovered is that like most everything in life, the situation in Eastern Europe and the USSR was a mixed bag with good and bad.

In 1969 we went off to Honolulu, Hawaii where I was a graduate student in Social Work and a strong anti-Vietnam War activist. I started a woman's group for my own self support since I'd been used to having one in Berkeley and was a feminist for sure. The time was right and the group quickly grew into a movement in Hawaii. The Social Work School at the University of Hawaii, at that time, was not pleased with my activism and tried to throw me out. I fought, won and switched to Public Health, and in l971 was awarded my Master's in Public Health with a certificate in Urban Planning. After a trip to Allende's Chile, my son and I returned to Berkeley where I finished my Master's in Social Work at the U. of California in 1975.

In the 70's I, like many others, focused on "inner" and more personal psychological and spiritual issues-Gestalt, bioenergetics, Reichian therapy, psychodrama, family therapy, etc.. I became a psychotherapist and even then was my rebel self organizing affordable Gestalt drop-in community groups and arguing with the powers that be in the therapy world.

In 1979 my partner of the time, son and I headed South in a van on a long trip. We drove as far as Belize, improving our Spanish, taking our time, sold the van and continued to Panama, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil. Seeing the effects of American colonialism in its modern form, in addition to all I had been learning over the years about the negative effects of American/European colonialism/imperialism, racism, etc. on the rest of the world, led me to decide to change my main focus back to social justice "activism". It seemed clear to me that, as a person of privilege, that was my responsibility, and I didn't feel I be could be as happy as I might possibly be with so much suffering and injustice everywhere I looked.

In a nutshell, when I came back to Berkeley I got involved in KPFA radio. I had learned to listen, am a naturally curious person, and radio interviewing fit me well. The little island country of Grenada was where I did my first interviews. This later led to the production of a couple of radio documentaries on Grenada, and one on Jamaica, plus a documentary on Max Scheer, the founder and editor of the internationally known underground newspaper, the "Berkeley Barb". In addition, I co-produced a four-hour documentary series East Meets West: Buddhism in the United States narrated by Richard Gere. I became hooked on radio activism — bringing the voices of ordinary people, and the activists, onto the airwaves to be heard by folks all over.

Since then I've been active in organizing Free Radio Berkeley and the low power FM micro-radio movement. I was in Seattle during the protests against the World Trade Organization helping to organize the Independent Media Movement (indymedia.org), worked with indymedia.org during the 2000 Democratic Convention in Los Angeles, helped organize the San Francisco IMC (www.indybay.org), and am still involved with KPFA Radio here, both politically and as an occasional programmer.

Since it's founding in 1987 I have had a weekly show on Radio for Peace International, an independent, listener-supported, shortwave station that I also helped develop. It was located on the grounds of the University for Peace in Costa Rica harmoniously until November of 2003 when it was forced to shut down by the Board of the University for Peace, headed by Maurice Strong. No reasons were given, nothing was paid by the University for the building and I have been involved with those who are working to get it back on the air as soon as possible. It should soon be Internet broadcasting. Anyone who wants to know more or get involved please contact me. Check www.rfpi.org .

For the past few years "Steppin' Out of Babylon" has been broadcast weekly on the Internet station http://www.luver.org and can also be heard on WBCQ, "The Planet"- wbcq.com

For many years some of my radio interviews have been included in Women's International Newsgathering Service (WINGS). See www.wings.org. Recently "Steppin' Out of Babylon" has been aired weekly on Sirius Satellite Radio's "Radio Amigo". I hope the show will soon be heard on anther Sirius channel.

Now here we are on this website. I want to thank my helpers/hard workers without whom I could do nothing as far as the Internet is concerned. Thanks to -Gary Dugger, Greg Jalbert and Janet Kobren. Also thanks to Michael LaBash of luver.org who uploads my shows onto the www.luver.org website and to www.radio4all.net. Greg Jalbert’s work can be seen at www.imaja.com
Sue Supriano
Sue on the back of a truck in Cuba

Thanks for reading and listening!!!

Sue

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